REGINA – Hundreds turned out for the return of Smudge Walk North Central march Monday morning.
“Bringing everyone together, it symbolizes that we’re willing to work together and fix whatever social issues there are in this neighbourhood,” said Myke Agecoutay, chairperson of Smudge Walk.
The 3 km walk, which started and ended at Scott Collegiate, began in 2007 in reaction to a controversial Maclean’s article deeming North Central “Canada’s worst neighbourhood.”
In January, 2007, former Regina mayor Pat Fiacco called the article a “character assassination on the city of Regina.”
Years later, a response persists; the issue is not so black and white.
“We get written off with a bad article, or bad press, or a bad newspaper report, and we never focus on all the wonderful, beautiful things that go on,” said Dan Lindsay, who works for RQHR’s Addiction Services.
Regina Police chief Troy Hagen, who walked near the front of the crowd, said North Central has changed for the better.
“Whether it’s the government, whether it’s police services, for example, no one can do this alone, and it really must start with the people that reside in the community itself,” he said.
The walk played double-duty as a way to purify the neighbourhood, and also kick off a broader celebration.
“It’s important to showcase the success stories, and that’s why the theme of National Aboriginal History Month is celebrating the stories and successes of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples,” said Cherish Deegan, president of the Regina Aboriginal Professionals Association.